Pine Ridge Promise Zone | News
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USDA Announces $2.6 Million in Grants for Infrastructure and Economic Development Projects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack awarded $2.6 million in grants for seven projects to support economic development and improve the economy on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

“Investing in and rebuilding hard-hit communities are important parts of this Administration’s plan to ensure that every child has a fair chance at success,” Vilsack said. “Working in conjunction with our public and private partners, USDA is supporting much-needed infrastructure and economic development improvements to help create jobs, improve access to education opportunities and quality, affordable housing, and reduce crime throughout the Pine Ridge community.”

The projects being financed by USDA Rural Development include:

  • $1.85 million for a Water and Waste Disposal grant to Oglala Sioux Tribe to construct a cell for the solid waste landfill, construct a building, make repairs and purchase equipment;
  • $160,800 for a Community Facilities Tribal College Initiative grant to Oglala Lakota College for a communications/phone system for the main campus in Kyle;
  • $134,259 for a Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant to the InterTribal Buffalo Council to provide training and teach best practices to socially disadvantaged ag producers for disease management programs;
  • $49,500 for a Rural Business Development Grant to the Value Added Agriculture Development Center, based in Pierre, S.D., to teach local businesses in Oglala Lakota County, which is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, how to commercially process and successfully market buffalo meat;
  • $48,700 for a Community Facilities Grant to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety to purchase two police vehicles in Oglala;
  • $18,800 for a Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative grant to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety to purchase a police vehicle in Oglala Lakota County.

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USDA Awards Nearly $2 Million for First Phase of Regenerative Community Planned for Pine Ridge Reservation

On June 22, the Oglala Lakota Community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new sustainable and energy-self-sufficient community conceived and championed by the people who live there. At the ceremony, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) joined other federal, state, and tribal leaders to announce that USDA Rural Development is awarding $1.97 million to Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) for a community center for the project, which in later phases will incorporate single- and multi-family housing, a small farm, an aquaponics greenhouse, a grocery store, powwow grounds, a youth center, a workforce development center, and more.

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Pine Ridge Selected as Federal Promise Zone

The Pine Ridge Reservation will get five free workers and preferential points on federal funding applications through a new Promise Zone designation announced Tuesday.

Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced the addition of Pine Ridge and seven other impoverished areas of the country to the Promise Zone roster, which already included the original five communities designated last year.

Pine Ridge suffers 22 percent unemployment and a 49 percent poverty rate, according to information provided with the announcement.

“There is probably no other place in America that needs the focus, the coordinated effort, the additional points and the personnel more than the Pine Ridge area,” Vilsack said on a conference call with reporters.

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Obama Administration Announces Eight Additional Promise Zones to Build Community Prosperity

The Obama Administration announced today eight additional Promise Zones across the country, including six cities, one rural area, and one tribal community. Promise Zones are high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other priorities identified by the community. Through the Promise Zone designation, these communities will work directly with federal, state and local agencies to give local leaders proven tools to improve the quality of life in some of the country’s most vulnerable areas.

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